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Aug 9, 2010

Capello looks for answers to England's fear factor

Fabio Capello has admitted that he is not sure how to stop England playing "with fear" after the disastrous World Cup campaign.

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Capello took his first training session following the debacle in South Africa on Monday, hoping his experience in management will help the squad overcome its problems.

The coach saw the confidence of the qualifying campaign completely disappear at the finals, with the quick-tempo game replaced by a nervous, laboured level of performance.

He said: "South Africa wasn't good but we did not play at the same level that we played in qualification. When you play a World Cup competition, you have to arrive in really good physical condition. We were not so fresh as the games we played before the World Cup. We changed some things but it was not enough.

"Another thing really important thing is the mind of the players. We played not with confidence but with fear. I don't know what we have to do to improve the mind of the players.

"Every experience is important for the players, the manager - I learned a lot. When you lose something, the experience is very important, you have to understand what really happened and understand if I, or we, made mistakes and, from that, improve. Everyone makes mistakes.

"I think I can do something for this team because my experience is good and we can improve more.''

Capello insists he does not have a communication problem despite the chaotic start to preparations. Capello watched Michael Carrick complete almost all of the Community Shield for Manchester United, having previously been told the midfielder was out for a fortnight with an ankle injury, and Chelsea's Daniel Sturridge come on as a substitute even though he had been ruled out of Under-21 duty.

"I spoke with Sir Alex Ferguson after he won the trophy and he said sorry,'' said Capello. "He told me Carrick had been injured two days previously but then turned up on Saturday and said he wanted to play.

"I also had a conversation with (sporting director) Frank Arnesen at Chelsea about Daniel Sturridge. He said Sturridge had not trained for two weeks, which is why he was not selected for the Under-21s. In pre-season it is not easy to understand what really happens because you can recover from injury really quickly.''

Capello also decided to set the record straight about Scholes, confirming the view that having asked the 35-year-old about the possibility of coming out of international retirement on the eve of his squad announcement in mid-May, the midfielder indicated he would make the journey, only to change his mind the following morning.

"Scholes spoke with Franco Baldini in the evening and said yes, he would be happy to come with us to the World Cup,'' said Capello. "In the morning, he rang Franco back and told him he had changed his mind and wanted to stay with his family instead. This is really what happened.''

Capello explained the background to the international retirements of both Paul Robinson and Wes Brown.

Capello said: "I accept the decisions. Robinson called us and said he wanted to stay at home. I spoke with Brown here. I told him why I didn't select him for the World Cup because he didn't play for the last two months (of last season).

"This time I selected him because he played all the pre-season games but he said, 'thank you, but I've decided I prefer to stay at home'. You have to accept what they want to do. I think it's an honour to be with the national team and to play for England.''

Asked about the difficulties surrounding young English players struggling for first-team football, Capello said: "This happened to Joe Hart. He went to Birmingham last year and improved a lot, because players need to play. Another case is Ben Foster. I selected him but he didn't play for the last three months with Manchester United.

"It's important to play, to be able to monitor them.''

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